Archive for ‘Mrinal Saikia’

24/02/2019

Fang Fenghui: China’s ex-top general jailed for life

China's President Xi Jinping and General Fang Fenghui, chief of the general staff of the Chinese People's Liberation Army in 2017Image copyrightAFP
Image captionFang Fenghui with President Xi Jinping in 2017

A former high-ranking Chinese general has been sentenced to life in jail for corruption, state media reports.

Fang Fenghui, ex-chief of joint staff of the People’s Liberation Army, was found guilty of bribery and having huge wealth that he had been unable to account for, according to Xinhua.

The 67-year-old accompanied President Xi Jinping in his first meeting with US President Donald Trump in 2017.

Many officials have been jailed in what Mr Xi says is an anti-corruption drive.

The efforts have had a particular focus on the country’s military, which is the world’s largest and is undergoing a modernisation campaign.

Fang Fenghui lost his post with no explanation in 2017 and disappeared from public view. The government later confirmed he was under investigation for alleged corruption.

Fang Fenghui in 2017 in meeting with US officialsImage copyrightAFP
Image captionFang Fenghui in a meeting with US officials, including former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, in Washington in 2017

He was also a member of the powerful Central Military Commission, China’s supreme military body, and was close to Zhang Yang, who also served on the commission and was found dead in 2017 while being investigated for corruption.

Fang was expelled from the Communist Party last year ahead of his trial at a military court.

All his assets have been confiscated, Xinhua adds, without mentioning how much money was involved.

It is unclear whether he was allowed to retain a lawyer, Reuters news agency reports.

High profile casualties of Xi Jinping's anti-corruption campaign: five people who have been purged by Xi include Zhou Yongkang, Sun Zhengcai, Xu Caihou, Guo Boxiong and Ling Jihua
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More than one million officials have been punished in the anti-corruption drive started by Mr Xi when he took power in 2012, the government says.

They include Xu Caihou and Guo Boxiong, both former vice chairman of the Central Military Commission. Xu died of cancer in 2015 before he could face trial while Guo was sentenced to life in prison for bribery in 2016.

The anti-corruption campaign has been described by some as a massive internal purge of opponents, on a scale not seen since the days of Mao Zedong, in whose Cultural Revolution many top officials were purged.

Source: The BBC

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23/02/2019

Bootleg liquor kills at least 84 in northeast India, 200 hospitalised

GUWAHATI, India (Reuters) – At least 84 people have died from drinking toxic bootleg liquor in the northeastern Indian state of C, and around 200 others have been hospitalised, a state government minister said on Saturday.

The deaths come less than two weeks after more than 100 people died from drinking tainted alcohol in two northern Indian states, Uttarkhand and Uttar Pradesh.

Police have arrested twelve people in connection with making bootleg alcohol in Assam, a practice local politicians say is rampant in the area’s tea estates, where its is drunk by poorly-paid labourers after a tough day’s work in the plantations.

“Every 10 minutes we are getting reports of casualties from different places. So far about 200 people are in hospital with many of them critical,” Assam Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma told Reuters via telephone.

“Doctors from nearby districts and other medical colleges have been rushed in to deal with the crisis,” said Sarma, after visiting patients at Jorhat, located some 300 kilometres east of the state’s financial hub, Guwahati.

Deaths from illegally produced alcohol, known locally as hooch or country liquor, are common in India, where many cannot afford branded spirits.

The death tolls from the two recent incidents, however, are believed to be the deadliest since a similar case killed 172 in West Bengal in 2011.

Dilip Rajbnonshi, a doctor at the government hospital in Golaghat, located some 40 kilometres southwest of Jorhat said the deaths were due to “spurious country liquor”.

A number of women are among the casualties. Many of those that drank the liquor were tea plantation workers who had just received their weekly wages, according to another state government official.

“I asked some of the patients why they consume liquor almost everyday and they said after a hard day’s work in the plantations they drink to relieve stress and tiredness,” health minister Sarma said.

Mrinal Saikia, a local lawmaker from the Bharatiya Janata Party – which is in control of the federal and Assam state governments – said alcohol, often laced with cattle feed and battery acid, is being supplied “in gallons” to tea plantation workers.

“This is a big business in areas surrounding tea gardens where people set up illegal distilleries to make country liquor,” he said.

Source: Reuters